In my dream, I'm at an airport of some kind. It's generically vast and busy, but its details most clearly evoke the San Francisco International airport. All gleaming white. Ceilings that are stratospheres unto themselves. I'm wearing the long black overcoat I used to wear almost every single day, back in my senior year of high school. It's splattered, here and there, with blotches of red and yellow paint. It smells like paint, like an art class or something. My hair is tousled and greased into the kind of perfect haircut I only get in dreams. I'm holding a big black notebook. I'm not sure if I'm here to meet somebody or to see somebody off. I'm definitely not here to travel. I feel as if I'm more rooted and native to whatever territory this airport is in than anyone else in the complex, like I'm the mayor or the village wise man or something and I've been whatever I am my whole life. It's understood.
I start to spot people I know. Old friends and new friends. Lovers and enemies. Family members I never see. They're all arriving (or have arrived ) separately, but I'm somehow warmly greeting them individually, all at once. This is some kind of crossroads place. I introduce these figures (from the whole expanse of my wandering life) to each other. I introduce friends to other friends and they seem to hit it off, then flight attendants will bring them their beautiful future children and the whole family will be escorted through a departure gate, off to their new lives together. It's obvious that I'll never see them again, in any lasting way, and that's okay. People meet and connect and intertwine. It's that kind of world.
Some friends form gangs, people from wildly different locations and periods in my life who I always knew would get along, finally meeting, falling in some kind of love, sometimes getting a family of their own from airport staff and then leaving for their future. Even my Symbiote gets introduced to the lover she'll have after she's done with me. He's young, but he looks like he has money, and like he adores her.
It stings, all of this stings, because I'm seeing everyone I've ever known, everyone I've ever felt ANYTHING for, and they're all saying good-bye. But I reconcile myself to the sting of it. Like it's something I've had to get used to, because of what I do, who I am, what I'm for. Everyone is on their way to some future, some heaven, some hell. I'm a creature of the crossroads, apparently. A custodian of this interstitial space.
Eventually, the airport is emptied of its teeming people. In the process, I come to realize that EVERY crowd in the complex is made up of people I knew or have yet to know and the people they would come to know after meeting me. Even the staff is familiar. They slough their uniforms and exit through the departure gates, bound for points unknown. To me, at least. All the directories are blank. But I'm sure that every being I've encountered here is on their way to a more profound and complete engagement with life and the dynamic frictions and fusions of other lives. The surging, churning human tragicomedy. Powerful stuff, or so they tell me.
I'm definitely set apart from this whole process. For a moment, I feel above it all in some way. then I correct myself. I'm not above anything or anyone. My place is just to the left of all this life, right at the corner of everyone's eye until I disappear from view completely, or they do. After hours (and, yet, a mere moment), the airport is empty except for me and some crows croaking intermittently in the rafters.
It all seems sad, at first, this role of mine. All the hellos and good-byes. Even with my low impact effect on other beings, it's like I've done it all wrong, creating as much confusion and suffering as I have delight and enlightenment. Alone with the crows and my notebook, I feel like the worst conductor this crossroads has ever had. But I know I'm the ONLY conductor this crossroads has ever had, so I'm also the best. And I never had a choice. It's like every self-image I've had that connected me with other people has been a vain hallucination. I'm lonely at the crossroads, but I'm authentic. I miss everyone, almost as much as I missed being alone. I stop lying to myself and the crows careen and croak and swarm in celebration. I open my notebook and then I tell the only truth I know.
Not even the faintest wisps of dream survived my waking today, I'm afraid.
So I am compelled to open the vaults and share a previous dream from way back, in the form of a love-letter to my Symbiote. In our first cycle of courtship, I made a gift of every nightmare.
This a minor classic from my oneiric hit-list. Stay tuned for the sexy spoken word version, like Barry White on bad acid.
Hopefully, a harvest of fresh hauntings will be available on the morrow (or after my next nap).
"Red shoe fever.
A huge gymnasium on the outskirts of some major city.
There's an outbreak of some hideous disco disease. Once you catch it, it incubates in your network of nerves until it hears/feels/senses music. Then you have to dance to maintain your humanoid physique. if you stop dancing, your bones melt and your organs slide together and cluster at the core of your new body. Your features and angles recede into this pulpy, throbbing meatbag that once was you.
your holes close but your pores open wide to suck the air in, giving the meatbag a spongelike texture at
every inhalation. Then the pores close with the exhale and you dribble a viscid effluvium. the outer
rim of the gymnasium is equipped with those japanese dancing games where you must match your moves to a cgi dancer on-screen at faster and faster speeds. The moves get progressively more complicated. The contagion likes to be challenged and entertained. If you pause at all in non-rhythmic fashion, the mutation begins and who you were melts into a suffering meatbag.
Every dancing booth is occupied. Tinny techno breakbeats erupt from every console. There
must be a few hundred of them, but the beats are in perfect congruence. closer to the center of the gym,
the two of us and several other scientists (in lab coats and hello kitty surgical masks) are making the
rounds amongst those who have fallen victim. A few of these monsters have an eyeball or a finger or a few toes or a nostril or a testicle braking the surface of their veiny, tormented flesh. a protuberance,
apparently, is a sign of cureability.
Those who can't be cured would be better off dead.
That's our job, under the flickering, bug-hungry fluorescent bulbs. We're euthanizing meatbags. despite the giddy techno soundtrack., the overall mood is solemn. funereal, almost. not for us, though. discreetly, we sneak mischievous glances of sinister complicity at each other. A mask on your glamourpuss casts those electric icicle eyes into higher relief. none of the others can know that this epidemic is making the two of us horny. We're injecting mercury into those growths who are beyond hope, exchanging goo-goo glances, waiting for our shift to end so we can go fuck in the room where they keep the free weights.
Waking up slowly, I imagine an additional mutational layer to the disease, finding in the midst of our mingling that we, too, will melt into shapeless meatbags if we ever stop fucking.
And you know what, Dr. X? i think i'd be okay with that."
Another party dream. I'm throwing the party, this time, a very important party in my lavish home, and it's not as easy as you'd think, even with an elite staff of planners at my beck and call. There are so many strangelings on my guest list, each with delusions of cosmic entitlement and highly idiosyncratic needs, comfort-wise.
Some guests will need all their food to be raw. All their fruits must be tortured to perfection. All their nuts must be chastised by rabbis. All their animal meats must be ritually murdered and skinned by autistic children. The skins must be slit and stitched into designer bathing caps for some elderly folks whose nursing home had its back yard turned into a toxic waste dump. Maybe this is a fund raiser. The senior citizens in question have since grown gills. Swimming should be sexy. it's where all life comes from. From deep inside and underneath.
One of the more cutting edge celebrities at my party insists on having her meal vaporized. She then inhales the vapor through very chic-looking tubes. The tinted plastic bubble on her head fogs briefly and then she burps. It's like a designer baby-burp, the most elegant little glitch in an angel's digestion. The most fleeting of perfumes, at once evoking swaying sun-scarred cornfields and steaming equatorial riverbeds, like her metabolism is as rich and as pure as the rainforests were before the white man came and tweaked the gardens of Eden into star-splashed showrooms, all this marshmallow static and hot pink plastic.
She does seem ever so slightly more vibrant and alive than the rest of us. So alive she can't quite hide the moss she grows instead of hair. Mossy stubble of the food breathers.
Where some would see a symptom, the fanatic finds a sign.
In my dream, I'm on the second level of a fancy restaurant, dressed nicely, dining with my Symbiote. We're both watching a news program, playing on several screens in different tasteful locations all over the room. The news segment is about Lindsey Lohan, at home, in sweatclothes, out of make-up, looking almost fresh, almost innocent, less sad and desperate than usual. She's reading my book and the cameras just watch for her damage. A full thirty minutes or so of her pacing around her bedroom, reading it, the camera watching for reactions. I see her eyebrow cock. She tears up at one point. I start talking to my Inamorata about what a publicity coup this is.
When I look up again (from food and conversation) at one of the televisions, it's showing me Lindsey's empty room with credits rolling over it.
She's not on TV anymore.
I see her entering the restaurant, dressed in dowdy black, with a big sweater and a floppy beret, stepping through the ground floor entrance, ignoring the maitre d, ignoring everyone, walking with great purpose up the stairs. I realize she's here to see me. I expect praise, but also turmoil over how a character in the book could almost be mistaken for a complex cartoon of her. I'm preparing my defense, my explanations, my alibis. One just never imagines meeting these people when one writes about them. She walks right up to our table. I'm about to act like it's an honor (though her days of vibrant youthful potential have long since faded into frosty blurs of powder burn and delirium tremens).
She shoots me in the head.
And I can feel it.
Not pain, but a sudden weight, like there's something heavy where my brain should be, something too heavy, and I need to rest this heavy head of mine on some soft surface immediately. It's like my skull is a sock stuffed with D batteries. Then there's a hiatus of oblivion, like a fade to black.
Then I'm in a hospital. The Girlfriend is standing nearby, looking lovely but anxious. There are some other people. The doctor, maybe. My head still feels heavy and tight, like it's all wrapped up with something. Bandages, I suppose. The TV is on. An episode of "The Hills".
Everyone's waiting for me to say something, to gauge how deeply I'm damaged. There's so much I want to say, and I feel like I'm in full possession of my faculties, but I'm reaching for words and none are forming. I can remember the noises I should make to signify basic things, but they won't come out in a meaningful way. My confusion and building fear are becoming apparent.
It's eating the Girlfriend up inside. She wants to be supportive, but she tearfully averts her gaze. I clutch her by her slim little wrist. I'm flashing back (on some level) to dreams I had as a child, dreams wherein I was suddenly mentally "retarded", where I'd walk the neighborhood to the houses of all my friends, showing them all my drawings as some kind of proof that I wasn't always this way, like some mistake had been made. I remember one drawing called "citadel of blood".
I'm feeling a similar urgency as I clutch her wrist and stare, staring so hard my gaze should leave a bruise, wanting her to look deeply into my eyes and see the smart person trapped here in a distorted place where the words won't form. I want her to see the bright child screaming in my eyes, so she'll know I'm still in here, because all i can say is "Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...".
The doctor's seen it all before apparently. Bored by the pathos, s/he is looking away, at the screen, at "The Hills", which I start watching, too, looking straight through the Girlfriend, my attention span apparently as impaired as my vocabulary. The shallow, scheming little poppets on the show seem suddenly wise, possessed of a gravitas I always missed and will never fathom. They're beyond me now. I feel like a dog watching a symposium of fringe physicists and Dzogchen monks, discussing the intricacies of cosmology and/or consciousness. Everyone seems smarter, now. Since the accident.
Like that bright child gone dim, I start screaming.
In my dream, a special executive officer from someplace comes into my room and tells me I've been promoted. He's been sent to officially forgive me on behalf of the Universe for every nasty or timid thing I've ever done.
He has a flickering, intermittent face and a briefcase full of pure evil.
I don't know what to think. It seems like the sort of favor that can't be verified. He asks me to tell him the worst thing I've ever done. I think about it for a minute, then something especially heinous comes to mind, and I tell him. There's a pause and his face has gone blank, like he's crunching numbers or attending to some digestive process, deep within.
Then he smiles and says "You are forgiven". I almost rankle at his flippancy. The moment in question was a real atrocity, an act some sickly shadow of me is almost proud of, for its unbridled, amoral audacity.
Reflecting on that audacity, I realize it doesn't seem so bad, all of a sudden. I am filled with a deep conviction and confidence that all those effected are strangely better off, in different ways, than they would have been if I'd never done it.
I believe him. I try another sin. And so it goes. He forgives me everything. Officially. All I've ever been is a desiccated agent of destiny, he says. We are but the wriggling nodules of some higher power. My killing hand goes whichever way the dark wind within might blow. I'm just following the fractals, your honor. I am pure as the driven snow.
He forgives me all night long, in several different languages.
The automatic grace is so sweet, I wake up hungry to fill up my accounts with every kind of wickedness. It's such a kick when no one cares anymore.
And yet I almost never leave my office. If I went beyond good and evil, who would notice?
I'm a moral code falling to pieces in the wilderness. Only the Dalai Lama can hear me going straight to hell. Does that smug bastard ever wake up screaming?
I can smell the Holy One and his monkish minions meditating always on my sloughed iniquities, like perverts huffing the burgled panties of a superstar.
We're all just living for kicks, it seems.
But one man's penance is another man's poison.
Even hatred for the flesh is a fetish.
Even the supreme sacrifice, ultimately, is just some sick fucker's idea of fun.
As I have been so efficiently forgiven, the least I can do is forgive all of you.
The account is empty. Fill it up again with darkness. Do this, in sketchy memories of me.
In my dream, I'm designing the perfect party with a licensed expert in "psychodynamics". He wears a turban and weirdly angular sunglasses and henna tattoo bandages all over his face. He explains that every party constitutes a kind of invisible "ambience engine". All the guests and all their behaviors are moving parts, as are their reputations and their possible futures. The specialist has studied complex collages based on every potential celebrant. I can feel all the money ooze away as he paces through the emptied chambers of the house I have parties in. He's pantomiming cocktail banter, sometimes seeming to make out with himself, sometimes violently arguing with himself. Each shift in persona is telegraphed by his vocal timbre and body language. He's paid by the minute. By the time this routine has no doubt paid for a house of his very own, I can almost see the geometries of friction and flirtation that his multiple possessions have traced in the mental space, like sparkler scars on the fabric of a summer night. The party itself, at this point, would be beside the point. It feels like it was these shapes I was after all along, anyway. The best parties are merely hypothetical and never vulgarize themselves by escaping the blueprint stage.
He makes me understand that the seating at dinner should alternate: Somebody/nobody/Somebody/nobody/etc..., so the vibrations of fame can be conducted and equalized. In every direction there will be famous beauty for the gaze to settle on as the ear delights to the prattling of mere mortals and their stupid problems. There's a shift in scene and setting of some kind, then it seems to shift back, then I'm lecturing imaginary old ladies at a garden party (a la the original "Manchurian Candidate"s bloodcurdling brainwash sequence) about the power that certain stars can have over someone like me.
"There are certain starlets possessed of such a constant, effortless Otherness that most of their human interactions are composed of smouldering glances, disquieting sighs, lips moistened with coquettish anticipation. I've seen them and I've trafficked with them. There are women amongst us, in these catacombs of luxury, whose every utterance is scripted, who otherwise live in silent films. I've seen how they burn in their silence, how it purifies them for the camera. It seems that most of us dissipate our charisma with endless chit-chat. This silence of theirs, it's a kind of saintly anorexia."
All the love and fun she could have had lives and dies with that little red light. It means the camera is on. It indicates eternity.
In my dream, I was curled up like a feverish child by the window, listening with attention and delight to the lessons and stories of a large hovering orange with a handsome human face and a long red cape. He was telling me about his adventures, traveling far and wide, helping entities in trouble, injecting the mysterious "Vitamin O" (the benign intelligence behind all designs made manifest and digestible) into every quadrant and culture, on every wavelength of our teeming, screaming Omniverse. The orange has piercing blue eyes, full of fierce kindness. Its lips don't move in sync with its narrative.
I wake up and lose the whole moment, then I reach for my morning emergen-C energy confection. The flavor is Super Orange. I remember everything. I contemplate my tutoring as I begin my grooming routines. I think about strange fruit in general, childhood arguments with neighborhood kids about whether food likes to be eaten or not. Back then, every object was a cartoon waiting to happen. Still is, I suppose.
In the shower I think Platonic thoughts about Superman and his many iterations, parallel Supermen and various fractalizations of his Archetype. I think abut Super Orange, how the cape and the face seemed pasted on, somehow, as if to deliberately "represent" something. As if they could just fall off to reveal the Ideal Orange, the Platonic Orange, the Uber Orange, the concept of "orange" incarnate. Even its texture and color could be sloughed if Super Orange felt the urge or found it necessary. Then, it would stand revealed at my feverish dreaming window as the Primal Sphere, the idea of "roundness". I half-remember Super Orange speaking deeply of roundness.
While shaving, I stare ripples into my reflection and I think about roundness, how Superman is the roundest mythopoetic heroplex (Batman: all cubes and alleys and cells and cages). Superman is a holographic fragment of a lost paradise, strange visitor from another world, the incarnate light of Beyond, protecting us from its Abyss. His core quality is compassion. He can do anything, and all he wants to do is help.
I imagine the last Superman, endgame of a dynasty that extends a billion years into our fictoplasmic futures. He's a sphere who falls into flatland and falls in love with its tight physics and its life-forms, origami angels folded up into 2d humans, every one of us so much stranger than we know. SuperSphere knows, and he watches over us. He hovers over the gameboard, protecting us from a malevolent ecology of predators, sinister sentient geometries and thoughtforms, slithering through dimensions most of us lack the apparatus to perceive.
SuperSphere, when he bubbles and warps in our midst, would need a color. Orange maybe. Perhaps SuperSpheres would hang heavy from a tree or a central nervous system with its roots in Flatland and its uppermost branches unfolding infinitely into the Other. The Spheres fall like fruit, into the phenomenal world. Maybe bad flat things who have trafficked with them would learn how to peel them before they know how to hover again and the bad flatfolk would drink their pulpy juices, to see as they see, without pity or a vision of anything but more juice. I wonder what kind of fruit corresponds to each Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. I finish dressing and slip on my shoes, eager to spin and weave a new phase of the Booky Book.
So many stories, so little time. But time enough.
Thank you, Super Orange. Vitamin "O" in the house.
"HYPNOZINE GHOST RADIO" image by Andrew Mc Kenzie.
JASON SQUAMATA writes novels, graphic and otherwise. He's been trained and employed as a stage and screen actor (under the name "Orji Walflauer"), a pop songwriter, a podcast novelist, a flesh cartoonist, and a Hypgnostic high priest. But he's made of pages and bubbles and frames. The comics he writes are called HYPNO KOMIX. The titles include TEENAGE LUVKRAFT!, HYPNOZINE, OTHERMAN & THE ORAKULOIDS, AMERIKAN ZER0, and PARLIAMENT OF BABIES. He works with brilliant artists like Sir Richard Wentworth, Andrew Mc Kenzie, Owen Hunter, Kate Fenker, MjK, Matthew Haggett, and Damian Zari. They're making Optical Mythologies for a Future Generation. Squamata is currently composing a bizarre novel-length celebutante fairy tale for a major publisher. He can and will write scripts and prose in any genre (mutating his voice and process as the project at hand sees fit), always alive with that "HYPNO FEELING". New genres can be generated for a client through deft "mash-ups" of memetic DNA. Each title is a world unto itself, aching to be explored and exploited. Make Squamata's methods and his madness work for YOU.
reach him here...
and see more at WWW.HYPNOKOMIX.COM